DIY it or hire a pro?

man and woman painting house

So we are in the process of doing some MUCH NEEDED updates to our house. And if you are like me you may ask yourself “which home improvement projects can I tackle myself to save $$, and which should I leave to the pros?” In today’s world, with YouTube at your fingertips, you can look up how to do practically any project online but that doesn’t mean you always should. My husband YouTubes EVERYTHING!! And he does learn how to do a good amount of things from it. But attempting to do a project on your own can sometimes end up costing more time, money and mess than it’s worth. At this point in my life, working a full-time job, have very active kids, involved in my church and other service organizations, I’m just too tired to do most of things I would have normally done myself. I have painted a few rooms in my house (and I HATE painting) but I did it because I needed a change. But this go round, I’m paying someone else to do it for me!

Here are a few ways you can know when to do it yourself, and when to leave it to the pros.

Home improvement projects you can probably do on your own

While everyone’s level of skill and dexterity is different, these home improvement projects are simple enough for nearly everyone:

  • Cosmetic improvements. This includes painting, wallpapering, wood staining, installing adhesive carpet tiles and replacing the hardware on cabinets and drawers. Before you start, check out tutorials on YouTube for useful tips and tricks.
  • Minor plumbing jobs. Almost anyone can snake a clogged toilet, and most people can handle fixing a minor faucet leak (hahaha unless you are my husband, God bless him), changing a shower head and even installing a toilet. Again, when it comes to DIY projects, YouTube is a wonderful plumbing mentor.
  • Minor electrical work. Don’t try to rewire your home on your own (unless you’re a licensed electrician), but you can probably successfully install new light fixtures and change your light switch plates.
  • Install tiles. Think a new backsplash for your kitchen, new tiles for your bathroom floors and walls, and new floors for your kitchen and foyer. You’ll need to research exactly how to lay tiles, using a notched trowel to spread your tile adhesive in horizontal strokes. If you’re not comfortable with the installation of your new tiles, you can still save a buck by removing your old tiles with a hammer and chisel before calling in the experts to lay your new ones. We will be getting new flooring in our house and we will remove all the old carpet ourselves to save on labor. We will definitely be paying a professional to put the new floors down but we are trying to cut costs where we can.

Six questions to ask before tackling a project on your own

  1. Have I done a project like this before? If this isn’t your first time doing a project like this, you can probably handle it now. If it is your first time attempting this kind of project, you may still be able to do it, as long as you’re prepared for the extra work and focus it will involve.
  2. Do I have a reliable resource to turn to with any questions that may arise? It’s best to be prepared in case you run into trouble mid-project. Get that contractor friend on speed dial!
  3. Will this project involve any structural framing? It’s best not to tackle projects that involve cutting through walls, as you run the risk of cutting through engineered lumber and trusses, which can then lose their weight-carrying capacity. If your project fits into this category, have a pro do the job or ask them for guidance before you begin.
  4. Will this job involve any electrical, plumbing or HVAC work? Here, too, you run the risk of messing up structural elements of your home. If your project involves cutting through pipes and wires, it’s probably best to leave it to the pros.
  5. Do I have the resources to complete this job? Many homeowners are eager to start a project on their own and save on pro prices, but they neglect to consider how much time and money the job will take. It’s best to make an estimation of how much the supplies and tools for the job will run you, and how many hours of work you can expect it to consume. You may find the DIY route is not as desirable as you believed it to be.
  6. Will this job risk personal injury? Don’t risk your safety on a project that should really be left to the pros.

Paying for a home improvement project

Whether you decide to DIY, or you’re going to call in the experts, a home improvement project can cost a pretty bundle. Consider tapping into your home’s equity through a home equity loan through Abilene Teachers FCU to help you pay for the project. Increasing the value of your home is one of the best ways you can use your home’s equity.

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